It’s easy to see why exercise classes are so popular. They’re a great way to learn new skills, meet new people and — perhaps most importantly — start a fitness routine as you mean to go on.
But how can you be sure you’ll achieve your goals when you sign up for a class? Whether you’re a fitness newbie or a seasoned gym-goer starting a new fitness routine, learn how to get started with our guide to group exercise classes.
Choose the right class for you
Step one is to decide which class to sign up for. That sounds easy enough but it might take a little thought. With so many group exercise classes to choose from, you should first decide which type of training will help you reach your goals and go from there.
If you need a little guidance or inspiration, here are some of our most popular group classes. You can also speak to the staff and trainers if you have any questions about what’s on offer and what will work best for you.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you build muscle, boost your metabolism and increase your aerobic capacity. At David Lloyd Clubs, we have HIIT classes such as BLAZE and IGN1TE, where the aim is to give 100% effort in quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods.
If you’re looking for a form of exercise that will improve both your flexibility and your mindfulness, yoga is an excellent option — and there are multiple forms of yoga to choose from.
Get a full-body workout that combines cardio and strength-training exercises, but is kind to your joints. You don’t even need to be a strong swimmer because you’ll always be able to reach the pool floor. Check out our beginner’s guide to aqua aerobics to learn more.
Who says cycling has to be solo? Join a high-energy group cycling class (like Rhythm or CYCLONE at David Lloyd Clubs) to build your strength, improve your endurance and have a blast as part of a team.
Dress for your workout
It’s simple: If you feel properly prepared, you’re less likely to feel nervous. A big part of that preparation is wearing comfortable clothes that are suitable for the type of exercise you’ll be doing. In a yoga class, for example, you’ll want to wear stretchy garments that let you move freely. Most classes don’t require anything out of the ordinary, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
You might also want to grab a bottle of water and small towel to take into class with you if you think you’ll be getting sweaty, which is more than likely!
Remember that timing is everything
If you know you’re not a morning person, you probably shouldn’t sign up for an early morning HIIT class. It won’t end well! Instead, play to your own strengths by joining classes that fit your body clock and routine.
Try to arrive at least five minutes early so you can get your bearings, and scope out the studio and any equipment you’ll be working with. Some sessions, such as weight-based strength classes, require a lot of equipment which usually takes a few minutes to set-up. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute, so give yourself time. You might also be able to meet a few new people and get some tips if you’re there ahead of time.
Talk to your instructor
One of the most important things you can do is introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know this is your first time. They will briefly talk you through the class and tell you what to expect before you begin. Most instructors will ask if anyone is new before beginning; if they don’t, be sure to make yourself known!
This is also your opportunity to discuss any injuries, health problems or questions you have before class starts. With that knowledge, your instructor can then ensure you’re comfortable throughout the class, making any adjustments as needed.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
It can be easy to feel self-conscious and even a bit embarrassed when trying something new for the first time, especially in front of other people. But mistakes are just proof that you’re trying. In fact, mistakes and missteps are more common than not when you try a new class for the first time. Everyone in the room has been there!
Most instructors demonstrate the the exercises along with the class, so watch them carefully to keep track of what you should be doing. Some instructors will also walk around the class checking on technique, so you can expect hands-on assistance if you’re a newbie. Don’t stress if you get a bit lost; just take a deep breath and do what you can.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Group exercise isn’t about competing with one another. It’s about working with a professional in a fun, supportive and energetic group setting. Sure, it can be tempting to try to keep up with the people around you, but the best thing you can do is focus on your own body. Your classmates have their own abilities and are at different points in their fitness journeys, so don’t be tempted to copy or compete — the person next to you might have been doing this class for years!
If you’re uncertain how an exercise is best carried out, watch or ask your instructor. Imitating the person next to you might mean you’re learning incorrectly.
Above everything else, group exercise is supposed to be fun, so don’t let your nerves get in the way of a good time. Get into the right mindset, make sure you’re prepared and explore the diverse range of group exercise classes at your local David Lloyd Club. We’ll see you there.